Britton is always creating things, and he likes to have his new inventions and games videoed.  Here’s a small sample.

Mother’s Day Program as School


Choosing Health

The Beginning:

A few of you may know that a few months ago I joined a movement in the personal care and cosmetics industry called Beautycounter. I say movement and not a company because that’s what it is to me–and to the leaders behind it. The whole mission of Beautycounter is to get safe products into the hands of everyone.

Now, if you know me, it’s not like I have a whole lot of empty time on my hands that I need to fill. Between the 3 kids, keeping the house running and running Sprout Shell I’m pretty busy. But I also knew I had to be a part of this movement towards health and safety for everyone. Maybe it’s the part of me that likes to teach, or the part that likes to help–or both–but once I found out what I’m about to share, I knew I was in.

For a more in depth look at how the company started, go here: Our Story


Now, I like to say that we often don’t know what we don’t know. And the learning process can take a long time. We go along, making changes here and there, until one day we learn a key piece of information that changes everything.
That’s what happened to me this past April. A lecture/discussion about environmental health was the catalyst that rapidly solidified my commitment to a safer, more healthy way of life.
For the past eight or nine years I’ve made small little steps in the “green” direction. We’ve used Method and 7th Generation for years. When Cam was born we started using Honest products for the home–and for her–because they’re committed to health and safety. Here and there I’d pick up the words Paraben, PEG, BPA and the like and try to stay away from them. They were “dangerous” and shouldn’t be used. But, they’re everywhere. So I figured they couldn’t be THAT bad.  Now, you may be asking why I didn’t just go for the organics or natural products from Whole Foods or something. Because they’re more expensive. And my frugal mind couldn’t justify the extra cost.  The regular products are everywhere, and I thought ingredients that were harmful couldn’t possibly be in products meant for every day use on our bodies.
Then I went to my discussion and learned a few things:
  • More than 80,000 chemicals have been introduced in the last 30 years. 10,000 are in common beauty products. Safety tests have been done on about 1,000 of them.
  • The last time a federal law regulating the cosmetic (personal care) industry was 1938
  • The European Union has banned about 1300 chemicals because they might be unsafe. The US has banned 11. Seriously.
  • 1 in 4 children will have either Asthma, Allergies, Autism or ADHD
  • 1 in 3 men and 1 in 2 women will have cancer in their lifetime
  • Hundreds of synthetic chemicals are found in newborn baby cord blood

I’ll be honest, it made me angry. With how regulated EVERYTHING is in our country now, how could this possibly be true? But, it is. With the sudden rise of so many health issues from infertility to allergies to disease, it stands to reason that our environment has to be a factor. What we put on and in our bodies every day has to have an effect.

Then, once I did learn about their harmful effects, and actually looked at WHY some of those common ingredients are bad, (endocrine disruptors, allergens, vitamin blockers)  that was it. I knew I had to change, even if it was a little more expensive. My children and their health is more important to me than an extra pair or shoes or nice meal out. Mine too.
Beautycounter is ridiculously vigilant and careful about the ingredients they use. In addition to the ingredients banned in the EU, they’ve also created their own “Never List” of ingredients they refuse to use as well. Find it with explanations of why the ingredient is bad here: Never list
So that’s why I am so passionate about healthier products–I hope you learned something too. That is my ultimate goal. To educate. Because until you understand in a real way the ill effects most personal care products have, doing what you’ve always done is easier. Because you may not know what you don’t know.
I hope you understand how your choices affect you and your family and the results of your choices today will be seen tomorrow.
These products really work. They’re awesome! I am finally breakout free after 3 months of using the Essentials line of skin care. After YEARS of dealing with acne, it’s practically gone. My skin is softer, less red and much happier than ever before.
Oh–and did I mention the body products smell amazing? There is nothing artificial. Scents are all essential oils. All ingredients are on the label.
Try It!
So, are you ready to try them? Shop here: Kirsten’s Beautycounter
I’m also happy to send out samples to try–email me, Kirsten.Reeder (at)
Once there you’ll also find more info about the company and its mission.
If you feel passionately about this movement, or want to earn some extra money, or just create your own collection of healthy products, let me know and I can get you more info.
beauty counter collection



Hiking Family Fun

We live in such a beautiful area with a lot of hiking and walking trails, so we took advantage of a nice Saturday and went out to a nice park a few miles away.

The kids loved it! Cambry was a bit heavy at times, but my K’Tan is so comfortable, it wasn’t bad. We really should do this more often!

At the end of the hike we drove around and found a little playground. Cambry went down the slide then back up about 30 times. Mostly insisting on climbing by herself, of course.

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I love pics like this. They’re so sweet.





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First Day of School

Can’t believe this guy is starting 1st grade already! When did he get so big?

He can hardly wait to get back to learning Spanish and see his friends again.

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Santa Cruz is Cool!

We’ve lived in the Bay area for 3 years now and have never been to the Santa Cruz boardwalk! So, with an open afternoon we headed down and saw these:

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The kids thought it was the coolest ever.2014-08-09 20.18.49

Then we got a super yummy Hawaiian Shave Ice. Those are super hard to find around here. 2014-08-09 17.40.06-1 2014-08-09 17.32.54


Britton and Kaia were looking for seals out in the water too. Looks like they found one!

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We had a really really fun time, even though we didn’t actually make it to the carnival or rides of the boardwalk. We’ll definitely have to head back for another visit.


Cam Does Funny Things

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She LOVES books!

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She’s a silly sleeper.

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She also loves letters!

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Playing at the park is fun!


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Her first ponytail! It was soooo cute!



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She thinks she super funny when she climbs on the table.



We couldn’t be happier to have her in our family. She’s a delight every day and makes everyone smile.



Maryland is Awesome!



Getting ready for some fun in Maryland with Grandma.

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Grandma and Cam took a little walk up the street. I love seeing them together like this. 2014-07-27 17.02.42-2

Kaia drew us some pictures. She’s getting better at her “people” and not doing “scribble scrabble.”

We shortly met our friends the Ashworths in Williamsburg for a quick trip. We haven’t seen them in a long time, so it was really fun!




Kaia was very naughty and got thrown into the stocks.IMG_20140723_132033999

These guys too.


But, they still had fun playing around!

THen, it was back up north to have fun with cousins and Grandma. We made a trip to the DC Temple.2014-07-27 16.02.04

Kaia and Gavin at the Visitor Center. They were so cute! K with her “Future Missionary” sticker rocking away.

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K loved standing by Jesus. She actually loves it at all the the temples we visit. I think this is her first photo by one though. She was sooo excited!

Cambry thought she’ll make a good future missionary too.

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We love to see the Temple!

Then, the next day, we went to the National Zoo with our cousins, Grandma and Aunt Sara!2014-07-26 12.39.40 2014-07-26 12.38.59 2014-07-25 13.54.07


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The zoo was so fun, and a very long day, but everyone loved it!

We had a special treat when Aunt Lori and Eric came through on another trip with cousin John. We

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On our last day, we squeezed in one more museum–The Museum of Natural History

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Ohio Bound

Mark’s family on his moms side had a reunion in Ohio, so we made our way that way. First flew in to Chicago, then drove the rest of the way. We didn’t quite realize it was as long of a drive as it was, but it ended up being ok. The drive was really pretty. Very green, lots of grass and streams.

But, it was kind of late when we got to the hotel, and the kids were a bit tired out!

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The next day we went to the reunion and met lots of people. Some lived in the area, a lot came from surrounding states, and a few of us were from a lot farther away.

The kids had fun playing and eating. We had a good time chatting, though I mostly talked with Mark’s aunts and cousins. I’d never met his most of his cousins before, so that was nice.

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Cambry needed some snuggles. And then she was off sorting bottles.

She also got to know her aunt Sara and cousin Caleb.

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There was chalk and bubbles for the kids to play with and Cambry LOVED it!

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Britton too. He liked blowing the bubbles, but also showing everyone the cool drawings he made.

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I’m glad we were able to go and the kids got to meet a lot of family that they haven’t before, and probably won’t for a long time again. We had a fun day of visiting, playing, running up the big hill, rolling down, swimming and making friends.

Thanks Wauseon!


Fun in Kirtland


On our way from Wauseon to Maryland we stopped in Kirtland to see the Church history sites there.


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We started with the mill and the kids thought it was really cool. It only used a little bit of water in a shallow trough, but produced a lot!

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Britton thought it was really cool to touch the potash.

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Kaia my little poser helping us show off the little creek.

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She and Cambry had fun together. Kaia like helping her, and I just know they’re going to be great friends growing up.

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Our last stop before heading out was the Kirtland Temple. We didn’t go inside, but the kids liked the outside just fine as you can see. We told them a little bit about what the temple was, why it was built and things that happened there.

It ended up being a really positive experience for everyone and I’m really glad we stopped in Kirtland, took the time to see it again–for Mark and I–and teach the children about some of the church’s history.


Comments (1)

We Love Swimming–and Friends

We love to swim. I do. My kids do. But unfortunately we don’t do it that often in the summer.

Though one day we our good friends came up from Carmel and played with us.

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Little fishes

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Sweet friend snuggles2014-07-09 15.32.24

And of course, snacks!

It was such a fun day. The kids loved playing with their friends, and we loved the water too.

Then, we got dinner at the food trucks. Cam stole my shake.

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